Don Starr has an MFA in Integrated Design from the University of Baltimore and a BS in Advertising Design from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Since his original Mason hire date—01/01/01—Don’s past responsibilities at the School of Art have included Academic Advisor as well as Acting Assistant Director, in addition to his current Assistant Professor and Graphic Design Coordinator position.
He was instrumental in the establishment of the Mason AIGA Student Group in 2005 and has served as Faculty Advisor since it’s inception. He has volunteered his time and experience yearly as a reviewer at area AIGA Portfolio Review events, sponsoring the event twice at the Mason campus.
Don’s current research focus is examining the synthesis of digital expression and traditional graphic technique in visual communication. His study of hand lettering, letterpress and screen printing has yielded a unique hybrid lecture/studio course, Experiential Design History, where students have hands-on workshops in traditional graphic arts along with lectures detailing their historical relevance in contemporary design practice.
Due to his rediscovery of traditional graphic arts —and collecting literally tons of metal type and presses—Don founded Glyph, a letterpress/screen printing/graphic design studio and retail emporium in Havre de Grace, Maryland, where he continues exploring the techniques in both artistic and commercial applications. He is active as a member of the American Printing History Association, Chesapeake Chapter, and his collaborative letterpress work with Lead Graffiti’s Tour de Lead Graffiti is included the collections of The British Library and The Library of Congress, among others.
Prior to teaching at Mason, Don worked at several Washington design studios and advertising agencies, serving notable clients such as FedEx, Special Olympics, Nissan, Graduate School, USDA, Time Magazine and—of course, the region’s largest employer—the Federal Government.
Additionally, Don has been known to “tread the boards” acting in local and regional theater productions, and was a member of the Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory. His work onstage earned him a Best Supporting Actor award from the NVTA One-Act Play Festival for his performance in Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love.